A delegation from the Turkish water ministry to visit Iraq soon

    26 Jul 2021

    A delegation from the Turkish Ministry of Water resources is set to visit Iraq soon, the Turkish Consul General to Mosul told Iraqi state media on July 17 after Iraq and Syria signed an agreement on water resources, Rudaw reports.

    “A delegation from the Turkish Ministry of Water Resources will soon visit Iraq to study the water situation from the Mosul Dam to Basra,” Consul General Mehmet Kucuksakalli said, adding that an Iraqi delegation had visited Turkey at the beginning of July and conducted studies on the Tigris in Turkey.

    Kucuksakalli said that the issue is a matter of “great importance” and that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has formed a team to solve the water problems impacting Iraq. 

    Late last month, the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources said an agreement was reached during their delegation to Turkey.

    Regarding low water levels this year, Kucuksakalli said that the reason is due to low rainfall, claiming that “Turkey has never blocked the water” flowing across its border. 

    The Turkish Consul General’s remarks come after the Iraqi Minister of Water Resources, and his Syrian counterpart signed an agreement earlier on July 17.

    “Both sides agreed to activate joint cooperation, exchange experiences, intensify the holding of technical and administrative meetings between the two sides and share the damage resulting from the decrease in water imports,” read a statement from the Iraqi ministry of water resources.

    The agreement included that both countries will exchange data on the imports from the Tigris and Euphrates periodically and in emergencies.

    The severe drought this year has dealt significant damage to the water resources of all three countries.

    The Turkish ambassador to Iraq Ali Riza Guney on Saturday said that rainfall had decreased by almost 40 percent in Turkey.

    “Despite water scarcity, we allow more water to both Iraq and Syria than we receive,” the ambassador tweeted, adding “efficient usage of water” is vital.”

    According to the UN, Iraq is the fifth-most vulnerable nation in the world to the effects of climate change, including water and food insecurity. Yet, it lags behind its neighbors in creating a plan to manage its water resources better.

    This past winter and spring saw much less snow and rainfall than average and neighboring countries have built many dams in recent years, holding onto the water in shared rivers, which has led to significant problems for Iraq.

    The UN Watercourses Convention governs transboundary water resources. However, only a few dozen states are party to the convention, under which nations are obligated to respect and equitably share their neighbors’ water resources. The treaty has been signed by Syria and Iraq but not by Turkey or Iran.For war-scarred Iraq, the climate crisis is the next significant threat. You may read more about this issue here.

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